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

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Ratings: 2,459 |  Reviews: 1,185
Photo of thespaceman
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Samuel Adams's Holiday Sampler Pack

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

Appearance: A beautiful dark brown, nice tan head that builds as the bottle is done pouring, head dimmished fairly quickly but left excellent lacing. Very little clarity.

Smell: What a smell! Vanilla, biscuits, caramel, milk chocolate are extremley potent in this, a nice fruit floral in the backdrop, not for nothing but this beer emits a smell like none other. Just right for the holidays.

Taste: A nice, clean chocolate/caramel taste, good balance of the roasted malts to the hops, again, vanilla and and the spices mix well in the taste of this. This beer would taste great with some baked ham, or even a batch of gingerbread cookies.

Mouthfeel: Perfect body, not overly carbonated like some other porters I've tried, subtle creaminess will warm you right up on the coldest of winter nights!

Drinkability: Why Samuel Adams's doesn't bottle this or the Ol' Fezzewig Ale in 6 or 12's is beyond me, these 2 beers are monumental to Samuel Adam's entry as being a solid winter performer, don't get me wrong, I love the Winter Lager, but these 2 beer's deserve more recognition then just placing 2 of each in a winter pack. I think we all need to e-mail Jim Koch and let him know how we feel.

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Photo of TylerAddisonJ13
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

And here goes my first review ever.

A - A hard pour leaves a tan-brown head, about 3 fingers in height that diminished about halfway through the drink. Appears to be nearly black, but holding up to a light shows a nice deep red, mahogany shade. Very nice lacing all the way until the end of the drink. Sticks right to the sides, and won't budge! Beautiful.

S - Malts, hint of raisin?

T - At first malty. The chocolate malts really stand out at the beginning, but they give way to the hops soon thereafter. A very nice overall balance throughout the middle portion of the drink. Sweet, but not TOO sweet. Towards the end, the smell of raisins became the slight taste of raisins, mixed in with the chocolate malts.

M - This is where it loses some points for me - A little bit watery, but leaves a slight residue. If it would have smoothed itself out a little bit, perhaps been a bit more creamy, I would have given it a higher rating. Still very very good, but not the best.

D - For a porter, pretty drinkable, however I wouldn't be able to knock back more than one of these. It's the perfect "end of the day" type of beer. Don't drink on a full stomach! I fear it might not fit!

Overall? Pretty good! A good beer for the winter season. Nice and warming, however, I could have desired a little more creaminess.

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

Wiseman Justin reviewed this beer initially and Wiseman Nick added to the review a few days later when he tried it.

Appearance: Poured a nice one finger head that laced around the glass like an exotic dancer at a strip club. Dark brown and opaque. When held directly up to light a reddish color can be seen. J: 4.5; N: 4.0

Smell: Spices and alcohol dance around. It smells like coffee on Christmas morning because the kids woke up too early and you're like wtf it's 5 a.m where's the Jameson? Nick says warm gingerbread, holiday spices, raisins, and brown sugar. J: 4.0; N: 4.0

Taste: Unexpected taste on the home front.... Very bitter, with molasses, burnt malts, some dark chocolate elements, overall not excellent but very good. I think it's just a little bit too bitter. Nick says coffee as well, but generally agrees: weird taste indeed. Hops and malts don't seem to meld well at all. J: 3.5; N: 3.0

Mouthfeel: Pretty high carbonation with medium body and good mouth numbing, though fairly poor mouth coating. J: 3.0; N: 3.0

Drinkability: I believe this is a highly drinkable beer especially during the holiday season; this would be a good beer to drink on Christmas Eve. Nick thinks otherwise. Flavor is odd and mouthfeel isn't enjoyable either. J: 4.5; N: 2.5

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

Appearance - Much like the cream stout, Black with hints of brown at the edge - possibly slightly more than the stout. Robust tan head.

Smell - Chocolate and caramel malts evenly dispersed with a hop character.

Taste - Tastes slightly more chocolaty than the smell indicated, but for the most part it tastes as it smells. Also slightly less hop then anticipated, with a faint hint of some kind of spice.

Mouthfeel - Pretty good, I like the lessened amount of carbonation in comparison to the stout, and it ends up slightly thicker as well.

Drinkability - Overall not too bad at all, but nothing ends up grabbing you and saying "I want more!" Even still, its a welcome addition to the Holiday pack.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well this says its a holiday porter. So for me I'm expecting it to be more like a winter warmer. But I think this will just be a normal porter with a fancy holiday label slapped onto it.

A- A very dark brown, with a tan in finger width head. Looks like a thick cola with creamier looking head.

S- I smell a great caramel smell, a very very faint coffee smell. The more SA I have the more I'm coming to the realization that they use a lot of caramel malts.

T- Well this is very malt driven, and with that being said, caramel malts. The slight coffee smell I talked about is there in the taste. It reminds me of cold watered down coffee with some roasted caramel added in. Not much in terms of complexity.

M- Its alright, I do like my porters thicker, but as its pretty average as far as American porters go.

D- Its pretty drinkable. I think this would make a solid session beer.

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

A: Half an inch of fluffy head forms on top of dark brown beer with faint ruby notes. Little light gets through this one, but it is definitely lighter than a stout.

S: Complex aroma of caramel, dark fruits and faint coffee and cocoa notes.

T: Roasty malts up front with some residual sweetness. Flavors of coffee dominate the aftertaste. Ample late bitterness balances the malts nicely.

M: Perfect carbonation level accompanies the sweetness to give a wonderful mouthfeel.

D: I think this is one of the better offerings from BBC... it's just a shame its a winter-only offering and only in the mixed packs.

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into Guinness branded tulip pint glass

Appearance: Very dark brown that is almost impenetrable, save some light coming through around the edges, showing a deep brown. Tan head that dissipates relatively quickly, leaving some lace.

Smell: Very sweet, caramel and chocolate malts with a roasted hint.

Taste: Roasted with a nice bitterness expected of the style, but with sweet flavors and a finish like vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and somewhat heavy.

Drinkability: Overall a good beer. I could see this going very well with desserts, or maybe even being a dessert in itself. Personally, I had it with a Hersey's bar and it went very well with the beer. This is a beer perfect for the season.

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Photo of DarrellK
3.01/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had high hopes when I opened the bottle which was held out of the frig to get to a warmer temperature. The pour was nice and a rich dark tan head appeard and then dissapated to a typical slight foam for the duration of the drink leaving a slight lace.

Advertised as a "holiday" brew, I expected more than the slight malty nose but he color was a dark coffee.

Two comments come to mind. The beer is a nice average Porter, but naming it Holiday Porter is just misleading. There is nothing that justifies the winter warmer implication of the name. Secondly it just should not even be put in the frig. Served cool and it washs out and needs to be at least at 60 deg to bring out any character.

Having said all of that it's a great session porter with a nice label.

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

Bottle. Pours black with a small, thick tan head. Aroma of sweet roasted malt, honey, and diacetyl. Flavor is quite sweet, lots of sweet malt, with a slight hint of caramel, bitter chocolate, and roasted malt. Easy to drink with a light mouthfeel. One of the better beers in the SA Holiday Pack.
Appearance: 4/5
Aroma: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Flavor: 7/10
Overall: 14/20

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Photo of gpogo
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown, though held up to the light ruby highlights come through. 1 centimeter creamy tan head. Head dissipates rather quickly and forms a ring.

A- Faint roasted malt aroma. More upfront is a bready fruit like aroma.

T- Much like the aroma, definite dark fruit taste with some roasted malt backing it. One sip lead me to a Metallic aftertaste, ick. Afterwards I kept trying to get that metallic aftertaste, but I was unable. Now I'm getting a slightly bitter aftertaste.

M- Medium-full body with low carbonation. Semi-dry finish. Very slight alcohol warmth.

D- A great winter brew. Slightly high on the abv for a session beer. Though it would be a great beer to warm you up on a cold night.

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Photo of glid02
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from a mixed 12-pack from Tower on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a very dark brown with dark ruby highlights and a one-finger tan head. The head dissipates pretty quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells mostly of roasted malts, with a hint of spices and dark fruit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Big amounts of roasted malts with just a tiny amount of spices. Some mild dark fruit flavors come out as the beer warms, and there's a good bitter ending throughout.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness and active carbonation. This goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The roasted malt flavors are a bit overpowering until the beer warms a bit, but overall it's not hard to finish.

Overall this is a good porter, not great, but definitely good. Worth a shot.

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Photo of nasty15108
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (Holiday Sampler)into a Sam Adams Pint glass.

A - Poured almost black with slight red hues along the outsides. The pour produced a head of thick tan foam and sticky lacing.

S - Earthy with slight herbal notes. Definite hints of molasses also detected.

T - Slight sweetness up front followed by a slightly medicinal/smokiness. Finishes of with some hoppy bitterness.

MF&D - Very enjoyable. I only wish it was more readily available.

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

A: Poured a deep brown with red accents, of white head about half an inch thick that reduces to a film. Nice ring of lacing around the glass.

S: Chocolate, english yeast smells, a fair amount of coffee, cinnamon, pale malts as well. Pretty interesting, pretty standard porter smells.

T: Pretty citrusy for a porter is what I noticed initially, buttery flavor as well, chocolate flavors, also pale malt caramel flavors as well, a nice citrusy hop finish as well. Coffee flavors really linger on the tongue. Nice dry finish. Really strong, robust porter flavors. Very nice!

M: Fairly thick, nice dry finish, faint warming from the alcohol.

D: This is one hell of a porter and I could easily see myself tipping back a few more of these. Great winter beer. Very nice.

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Photo of tzieser
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this porter. It was very dark, with a decent head. Had faint smells of semi sweet chocolate and coffee grinds. The smell isn't nearly as bold as the flavor, which has a strong taste of coffee and a little bit of chocolate. It's not nearly as bitter as most porters, making it pretty drinkable (for a porter). Definitely give this one a shot.

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Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic. Reddish dark umber color with a big fluffy tan head. Great lacing. Aromas of coffee with cream and sugar, as well as some chocolate notes. Semisweet chocolate up front, ashy roasted coffee finish. Nice lingering bitterness. Dry and smooth, light bodied. Easy to drink. Decent porter.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Has a roasted red appearence that is very inviting. Poured smooth and looked rich and flavorful.

S: Smells of apples and nutmeg. I also get good chocolate and nuts in the nose

T: Not at all like what it smelled and appeared to be. The taste to me was like a holiday pinesol and was very hard to take down becuase of the taste. I liked the aftertaste though that was a soft chocolate and walnut flavor

M: Had a high alcohol feel but went down very smooth.

D: It was not that bad once you get past the initial taste.

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Dark mahogany. ~1 finger of tan head. Head dwindles quickly, leaving only a thin ring. Minimal lacing

S- Vaguely fruity with a hint of caramel/brown sugar.

T- Dominated by a vaguely smoky, caramel flavor. Spices are minimal, and seem to fade to imperceptible as the drink warms and mellows.

M- Fairly full and creamy.

D- Fairly high. Nothing overbearing or heavy about this one.

Future outlook: A solid addition to the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Mix Pack, which I will surely pick up again next season.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very, very dark mahogany color with a slight tan head. Rather plain aroma-somewhat metallic and iron like. Decent malty flavor-a mild hint of roastedness and some decent chocolate notes. Mild lingering bitterness. Almost a slight, lingering vanilla flavor. Solid mouthfeel-rather creamy. A nice porter and a decent effort.

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Photo of likethetaste
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer in the Sam Adams Winter variety pack! Wow, this one, the Sam Adams Cream Stout and the Winter Lager in this pack are all fantasic!

The Sam Adams Holiday Porter pours a very dark brown. This is one smooth Porter with no bitter aftertaste. This is one smooth brew that is very drinkable. If you have not tasted this or the other samples in the Sam Adams Winter variety pack you need to ASAP. This has some of the best Sam Adams beers available and these are exceptional brews in general!!!

I will enjoy this winter with these Sam Adams selections for sure. Exceptional beer available at you local Grocery Store all Winter. Get this variety pack!

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

The nose on the beer is a nice mixture of sweetness, which is caramelly, and roastiness. The beer looks great with a good 1" head, and pretty black. The beer has a weird taste for a porter, It's really balanced, and the flavours mix together. There is a sweetness and a roastiness but they almost tasted mixed. The porter isn't good nor bad, because it just leaves me with a meh feeling in my mouth. The bitterness is good though. The mouthfeel is greamy and solid, and the beer is okay for drinkablility.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
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 beerthulhu
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark reddish-brown with a light cherry creamy tan head that dissipated rather quickly.

S: lots of caramel and chocolate combined with the sweet toasted nature of munich malt.

T: The initial flavor yielded a nice softly roasted character with milk chocolate, toffee and raisins. There was also a nice dry nuttiness present. The east kent golding and Fuggle add a holiday spiceness to the flavor along with the ginger, nutmeg.

M: a little light, creamy, but earthy and dry.

D: Good drinkability, a decent light session style porter that should satisfy for a couple of drinks.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another old review I found - I know that I recalled liking this brew alot, even without my notes. And I know it only comes out during Christmas time, which is a shame.
Poured into pint glass for thick, blackish body with a lightly tan head (very light) that was 1/2 inch high and left small lace patches. Chococalte, coffee, some roasted malts and something like caramel or spicing in there.
Even with full, thick body, very smooth and creamy as floats over tongue. Leaves behind a mild burnt flavor for dry aftertaste along with coffee and cocoa malts. This was great to have and killed second bottle right after. Everyone should try.

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Photo of changeup45
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color topped with a thick tan head. Roasted with chocolate, coffee and some malt flavor. A little bitternerss that seems to linger a bit. I typically don't like this style and this one was at least drinkable. I can definitley see this one being more appealing when it's cold out as it is warming.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes, dated 01.25.08.

Almost opaque - deep brown hue with good head and lacing.

Rich, dense stoutish porter. Heavy on the dark roast and chocolate/espresso flavors. also prevalent are hops that take on a flower/citric dimension that works well with the darkness. Cool spiciness in back makes it feel holiday-ish indeed.

A fine Sam Adams brew. I'll definitely be looking for this next year.

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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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