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

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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,459 |  Reviews: 1,185
Photo of Franchise
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering from the Sam Adams Holiday 12 pack pours a deep chocolate brown leaving a thick tan head. The aroma is chocolate, caramel, nuts, sweet cookies.

The taste is smooth, roasted dark chocolate, slight bitterness for balance. Spicy, earthy, bittereness in the finish rounded out by the sweet caramel cookie mouthfeel. Solid offering, good enough to be brewed year round.

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Photo of Surefire
4.97/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The only thing that I dislike about Sam Adams Porter is that it is only offered once a year, and in a variety pack. This product is so outstanding that I think it should be offered all year around by itself!

A: Execllent dark appearance, no flaws.

S: Multi layered smells include Mild chocolate, coffee, mocha, regular chocolate, and spices (from the hops).

T: Serious flavors, and multi-layered. Chocolates, coffee, cream, mocha, spices, etc.

M: Heavy to full body, and layers of cream.

D: Best porter I have ever tried. Has the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and bitter.

Overall, it is a shame this porter is not available all-year around as a stand-alone product. Sam Adams hit a grand slam on this one, and yet only sells it in limited ways.

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Photo of rye726
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a near black color with a tan head. The nose has lots of roasted malts with some chocolate and nuts. The flavor profile is fairly basic with toasted malts and some English hops. A light to medium body is well carbonated. A good drinker and better than their honey porter.

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

Typical Sam Adams 12 oz. brown long-neck with freshness date notched on the label. It pours a very dark tawny brown with a finger and a half of tan, foamy head. Good carbonation is evident with a study head and some patchy lace is left clinging to the glass.

Sweet roasty malt nose with notes of choclate, caramel, hazelnut and a light alcohol fume. It has a bit of nuttiness to it as well, nice.

Very pleasant sweet roasted caramel and toffee fills the mouth and coats the tongue. The flavor then becomes nutty and lightly astringent as it winds down to a cocoa, not quite bitter finish. The balance is perfect in this porter and the light warmth of alcohol adds to the overall drinking pleasure of this solid ale.

Rich, semi-full mouthfeel, along with it's great flavor make this easy drinking porter top-notch for it's style.

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Photo of jayrod20
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This porter is excellent. It's not very dark, more like an average coffee than a nice dark porter stout, although it does have wonderful head and lacing. It has a fantastic aroma and taste, though! Excellent scents/flavors of chocolate and roasted barley, but the best part is how it smells and tastes almost like a smoked porter. Goes down well and would make a great base for boiling brats. Very much worth a try!

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Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a Sam Adams mixed 6 pack.
Pours dark, almost black, with a short tan head. Thin lace, good carbonation throughout. When held to the light there is a thin ring of ruby red at edge of the glass. Pleasant smell of malt and nuts, some faint coffee and cocoa. There is a slight flavor of roasted malt, coffee, but nothing too strong. Smooth, almost light, no heavy creaminess. Easy to drink and enjoyable.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was in the variety pack and it poured a very dark brown with a nice head. The aroma was roasted malts,coffee,chocolate and some hops. The taste was of molasses,fruits,malts,vanilla and spices. There was some hint of the alcohol,but nothing major.

The finish was smooth with some grains and coffee-chocolate in the aftertaste. Good carbonation and an even balance of spice and bitterness to cap it off. The beer was not bitter,actually sort of bitter-sweet. This was good for the holidays and I enjoyed this beer to the very end as it was not too heavy or too light.

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

Used to be, I could go to Sam Adams web site and get the list of ingredients, OG, IBU, SRM, ABV, etc. No more. Sorry. Per the bottle, this one is brewed with Caramel, Munich, Chocolate malt and hoppe with East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. Purchased as part of the seasonal 12 pack.

Pours out to a clear dark brown, forming a modest light tan head with average retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is nice with dark fruit, carob, milk chocolate, dark molasses and a buttery quality akin to Samuel Smith. The mouthfeel is more acidic than normal for a porter, with a medium-dense body. The taste opens with molasses, followed by a punch of fruity acidity, some vanilla and malted milk balls in the middle, chalk towards the finish, a little bit of wet cardboard and some odd alcohols mixed with the buttery diacetyl. Bitterness is mild and there is a strong roasted grain sharpness. Finished lightly dry.

Hrmm, a decent beer, but the acidity really doesn't belong here. If that was gone, it would be much more drinkable.

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Photo of xare
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a small tan head that laces relatively well. Carbonation is good throughout - color is ruby red at edges of the glass and otherwise opaque. Overall, appealing but not overly so.

Smells nutty and malty at first go... faint hints of coffee dance in the background as the brew warms up.

At first, you don't get much flavor (when served cold) but as it warms up, you get the flavor to creep out - at first, it's somewhat hoppy, a bit soapy, then as it warms up, it gains a roasted coffee malt flavor and loses the soapy flavor. Eventually it reaches a somewhat bitter coffee finish. An interesting progression but I want more flavor in the first third of the drinking process.

Carbonated well but you don't get any of it in the mouth. Refreshingly smooth and reminds me more of a dark lager or dark ale rather than a porter. Lacks that heavy feel / creaminess.

Quite easy to drink and goes down smooth but as you usually only get two per winter mixed pack, it's easy to finish them off - they aren't deadwood but rather, a beer you can enjoy once a year, which I think is their intention.

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Photo of JDV
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours almost black with some opaqueness. Short lived light tan head. Smell is diacetyl and buttery up front with no real roastiness being picked up at all. Taste is different however, and is bittersweet roasty malt. Some diacetyl in flavor too. Somewhat buttery again. Nice bitterness to it, and drinks pretty easily despite the buttery flavor. Slightly rich bodied and bubbly mouthfeel too. Decent.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 0z bottle with a BBD of Apr 08, into a pilsner glass. I'm going to attribute my lower scoring to the fact that it's being drank at its BBD. I've had this before and remember it being much better.

A: Almost perfect color being a very dark brown to light black. Poured with very little head and with little carbonation to be seen. The head is left on the glass as it is emptied. A fairly thick film is left on the glass attributing to the remaining head.

S: Is full of roasted coffee malt scent. A faint smell in the background resembles a dark chocolate.

T: This beer seems to build on itself for flavor. The first few sips it has a hoppy taste. Every subsequent sip that fades and gives way to the roasted malt taste that is in the smell. The aftertaste remains floating around and is of a bitter coffee nature. I think the lingering aftertaste helps build the beers flavor.

M: Lack of carbonation helps keep this beer feeling very smooth on the tongue. Doesn't feel as full bodied as a lot of other porters, but more of a dark ale.

D: Drinks more like an ale then its style of a porter. Has the taste of a porter without the body.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves one finger of a biege head that has good retention and it leaves good lacing. Body is black.

Smell - simple and straightforward. Roasted malt, some nuttiness, and some dark fruit like raisins, and prunes.

Taste - as indicated by the smell. Roasted malt floods the tongue, and there is some nuttiness, as well as some chocolate, and raisins, and prunes. There are also some herbally hops on the finish.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied, slightly semi-dry at times.

Drinkability - this is a good ale. It would be somewhat sessionable.

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Photo of jwc215
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by April '08 notched on label:

The smell is of roasted dark malt - caramel/toffee, chocolate with a touch of fruitiness.

The taste is of roasted dark malts - caramel/toffee and chocolate with a fruity/earthy/spicy English-style hop bitterness. Nicely balanced. Finishes with a roasted, balanced sweetness.

Rich and hearty, yet smooth.

A great porter - English-style with an American flair. It has a good amount of complexity. A great balance with a nice use of hops that are supportive enough to showcase the malt complexities. I could enjoy several of these, and year-round, to boot!

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Photo of jmalex
3.13/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

One of the few left from my Sam Adams winter pack. The temperatures are starting to lean warm. I'd better clear this one out while it's appropriate.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Sam Adams glass a deep brown with reddish-brown highlights. The head is creamy and tight and light tan in color. It drops to a full surface covering of foam. This beer doesn't need the head-assisting glass.

SMELL: The aroma is bready with a hint of a chocolate presence. A spicy character comes out as well, perhaps from some actual spicing or perhaps from the surprisingly strong hop character.

TASTE: The beer still seems heavily spiced but not much else. It just tastes empty most of the way through, up until the finish. At that point, it becomes overly bitter from the burnt grains. Usually the right mix of burnt quality is attained, but I'm not feeling this one.

MOUTHFEEL: The body is actually close to perfect for a porter and the carbonation is a hit as well. I really can't complain about the mouthfeel by itself.

DRINKABILITY: I would've guessed an ABV around 6% so the slightly higher level is apparent in the taste. I dunno - if I wanted another beer, I'd switch over to something else.

I could say I wouldn't buy this again, but the Sam Adams winter mix pack does have some nice beers in it. We'll see, but I can tell you that Holiday Porter isn't the pick of the case.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into Mad Elf challice on 3/3/08.

A - Very dark, opaqe brown body with almost two fingers of dense, tan head that receded quickly but left some thick lacing around the glass. A bit of carbonation bubbles around the edges.

S - Rich, roasted malty aroma with some coffee and chocolate notes. Hops are earthy and a bit musty, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Hints of sweet caramel and toffee. More chocolate emerges as the liquid warms up. Just the slightest tinge of alcohol is also present. A bit of citrus way in the back as well as some winter spices.

T - Creamy chocolate and caramel/toffee flavors jump out at first, followed by a more bitter coffee aspect with some spiciness. Finishes with a nice, bitter roasted character and an earthy hop bite.

M - Medium body with a pretty smooth texture, but mouthfeel is a little thin for a porter. Carbonation is right on track and not too prickly. Finish is mildly bitter.

D - Solid, highly drinkable porter with robust flavor and nice hop presence. Body is a little thin, but the aromas and flavors are quite pleasant.

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Photo of tkeHijacker
2.74/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark Brown to black with a 1' mocha colored head. Dissipates at an average pace leaving a nice lace on the inside of the glass.

S: Alcohol, toffee, chocolate and a slight earthy hops aroma

T: Alcohol comes through, coffee and chocolate (a bitter bakers chocolate type flavor), some nutmeg?

M: Seems a little to thin being light to medium. Nice carbonation.

D: one maybe two of these at most in a session but no more. Good for a nice cool winter evening with a few friends.

Tasted on 1/17/08

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Photo of maddogruss
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked this up in their winter sampler a few months ago.

A: Pours a black body with a pretty carbonated, tan head. The head did not have good retention and dissipated after a few seconds. A decent lacing was left along the top of the beer as well as along the sides of the glass as I drank it.

S: Smells pretty malty and sweet; hints of roasted barley in the undertones, but nothing really up front.

T: A slightly roasted taste with a coffee roasted aftertaste. The taste was slightly malty in the beginning with the roasted barley being more evident later on.

M: Mouthfeel was a little thin. It was fairly smooth and not too carbonated, just a little watery.

D: A pretty drinkable beer overall. Nice, malty taste with some roasted undertones. The nice malts reminded me a little bit of a bock, but overall it was a fairly easy beer to drink.

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Photo of becktone
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eye: The color is a dark cherry brown with garnet highlights. Head is tannish in color, looks creamy and has great retention. Looks appetizing. Lacing is kinda spotty, could be better.

Nose: Overall pretty weak aroma, I get some warm, toasty, caramel and honey-like aromas. In the background I can pick up some chocolate notes. Nice and fairly complex, but just to hard to get a good draft of.

Tongue: Very complex flavor profile. After taking the first sip and thinking about it a while, different aromas come and go across the palate. Initially a sweet malt flavor hits the palate, caramel and toasty flavors, and perhaps then some chocolate, and finally a coffee aftertaste that seems to come from nowhere.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: As the label describes it a "hearty porter," I'd have to agree, it is a full bodied brew with just the right amount of carbonation to bring out certain flavors without getting in the way of others. However, there is a hint of a watery character near the finish of this brew, like the body is slowly thinning out after the first few seconds in my mouth. I wouldn't be opposed to drinking this one again, however, I know there are better American porters out there that hit the spot much better on a cold winter's day.

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

Pours a very black body with one and half finger thick Sam Adams head.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, toffee, and some chocolate all in a subtle balance. Tastes of a very nice balance of roasted malts, coffee, and molassess. Has a dry finish that makes it easy to drink and open a few more.

A good example of a porter. Pleasant to drink. Makes the winter sampler a little more fun to buy. Not my favorite example, but good to drink I would get more.

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Photo of Slynger
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark chocolate color with a creamy mid-sized head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma is sweet of chocolate malts and burnt caramel. Hints of roasted malts come through, along with earthy-woody hops. Very well-balanced and pleasant smell. Medium bodied and buttery smooth with a creamy carbonation. Slightly sweet of roasted chocolate and caramel malts. Lightly roasted coffee and bitter chocolate come through with mild woody hops into modestly dry finish. This is a very good porter, and probably my favorite Sam Adams offering yet. Very drinkable, very tasty, and the mouthfeel couldn't be better for the style.

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Photo of Redwood21
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

straight 4! what can i say its how i feel about this beer all around. its a solid 4...go figure

A: I like the dark black to jet brown color the head is a nice off white brown that is very sticky

S: coffee and esters maybe a toasted whole wheat bagel....yea i know im not sure

T:there is a bit of raisiny taste with some coffee and a very tad hint of Irish cream there is definitely a coffee dry aftertaste

this is a solid porter that if you can grab it is worth imbibing

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

A- Poured to a good head that lasted for the entire glass. Also left some very nice lacing. Rings were left with every swallow. Almost black in color. Head was caramel in color.
S- Smelled of caramel and malt and a hint of alcohol.
T- Tasted very dark like a Porter should. Tasted of burnt malt with a heavy Porter finish. Left a slight aftertaste of burnt malt.
M- Felt good in the mouth. Might of been a little heavy on the carbonation.
D- I would have to be carfull drinking a lot of these. The alcohol content was evident and gave you a good buzz in a hurry. It wasnt as heavy as some other dark beers or Porters Ive had.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma was somewhat weak. What I could smell was mainly malts (toasted grains and chocolate) with some brown sugar. Color was a dark mahogany with a matching light brown head. Flavor was a typical porter with a bitter and sour finish. Mouthfeel was dry with a light alcohol backnote.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty solid beer from the 12 beers of christmas offering.

Dark brown with some reddish ruby highlights.

Some heavy malts smell, other ooey sweetness jumps out.

Spicy tastes jump out at ya. Bitter, malts,

Decent mouthfeel, enough to make you want more, but enough to enjoy it.

Overall a good beer.

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Photo of bboven
3.32/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown and clear, ruby highlights with a huge head, big lacing. The head is a bit ridiculous on this one, even with a normal pour.

Really sweet, I'm getting vanilla, but that just might be my funny nose. Roast as well.

What strikes me is the tinge of sour in this beer. Porter should have it, but it's a little overwhelming here. All the regular tastes are there.

Way over carbonated, and too thin.

A good beer, not the best porter, but a great attempt from a big brewery.

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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,459 ratings.
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