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 Deus1138
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer from the Sam Adams Winter Sampler I bought.

Poured a nice dark brown, almost black color.

The pour released a lot of aroma from toasted malt, toffee, and maybe a little caramel.

Flavor is excellent. Roasted malts, coffee, caramel, a little bit of chocolate. Very creamy.

Smooth mouth feel. Not a lot of carbonation. Creamy feeling.

Very drinkable brew. Lots of roasted malty sweetness that is balanced well. There's just enough of the good stuff to make you want more of it, so you're tempted to chug, but it's not very light, so you can't, which is good, because this should be consumed slowly and savored.

This is great stuff. I only have one left in my sampler pack. :-( I love these Winter Sampler packs. My only complaint is I can't buy the beers I REALLY like in 6 packs. (Not that I dislike any of the other brews, but I can Boston Lager anytime I want)

This is really good. If you're sharing this pack with friends, give them the Boston Lager (one of my favorites, but you can get it anytime) and save this one for yourself.

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

This beer pours very dark, darker even that other porters. I can't see any light through this. It also has a lovely light brown head that's about an inch thick after settling.

It smells lightly of roasted malt and a bit of tannin.

The taste is pure porter: Roasted grain and coffee flavors mix with a light sweetness and creaminess.

The body is glassy smooth and creamy.

This is a fine porter, one of the most consistent styles.

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

This beer was poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle at 48ยบ into a wine glass. A nice one finger light beige foamy head resulted and lasted for two to three minutes leaving behind some Brussels lace. The beer was a chocolate brown and appeared to be creamy.

I detected aromas of chocolate, roasted malt and slight caramel.

The taste was slightly bitter and acidic to start. It smoothed out some with the malt taste starting to come through as it sat longer in the glass.

This beer was very comfortable and I would characterize as a nice introductory porter. I do not detect a heck of a lot going on here but it is very acceptable.

I could have used a fireplace and consumed this a little later in the evening to see if that enhanced the experience. I would classify this as a middle of the road porter that is well worth the effort.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, with slight hues of raspberry chocolate. Huge, rocky, tan colored head with tons and tons of lacing. Very nice appearance.

Aroma is very malty with minimal roastiness. Smells more like a Double bock. Caramel, slight chocolate, no hop aroma. Sweet and slightly fruity.

Fruity and chocolatey on the tongue. Fairly complex. Fruitiness hits the palate first, followed by dark fruits, and ends with a nice roasted malt flavor. Coffee flavors linger on the tongue. A bit sweet overall but a nice departure.

Medium bodied and finishes slightly dry. The fruitiness and coffee really linger with this one. A very nice beer from SA. I assume this is available only in the holiday mixer around this time of year. A solid offering.

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Photo of rohrbachsfan
3.16/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown with nice tall head.

Smell: Roasted malt and floral hops.

Taste: Sweet roasted malt with the flavor of espresso. Medium hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a crisp finish.

Drinkability: A very good porter although I would prefer a little less hops bitterness.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from Winter Mix pack into a Saranac pint glass.

A: Pours a deep coffee color with red highlights when held to the light. A rich one finger head of dense foam settled on the brew.

S: Smells like burnt chocolate, roasted in a charcoal grill or something. There's a nice level of sweetness in the nose.

T: A velvety blend of roasted malts, bittersweet cocoa, sugary molasses, and mild toffee notes. A little too sweet for a porter perhaps, but still very good.

M: Mouthfeel is thick and robust. The finish is very clean, and surprisingly, some hops jumped out of the mix in the mouthfeel and finish.

D: Another rich holiday brew that could be easily had in pairs, but on separate occasions. Great taste and highly quaffable.

A great addition to this mix pack and the SA fleet of award winning beers. I prefer this to the Honey Porter, because of it's burnt chocolate taste and aroma that goes better with a roaring fire.

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

A: The beer came in a dark brown color. The beer had a little head, but nothing to much.

S: The smell is full of some dark chocolate and a light sense of coffee.

T: The taste had a light taste of dark chocolate and coffee.

M: The mouthfeel is fine, light in the mouth and smooth going in.

D: The beer is extremely drinkable.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a full, fluffy beige head.

Smell: Aroma comprised chiefly of dark malts with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and toasted dark caramel. Vague hint of sour fruits.

Taste: Pleasant array of flavors roll by the tongue - semi-sweet chocolate, dark caramel, burnt breadcrusts, and chocolate-covered coffee beans. Hint of tart fruitiness. No more than a light hop bitterness to pair with the mild roastiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Good stuff! Unless the Old Fezziwig really wins me over I'd have to consider this to be my favorite of the Samuel Adams Winter Mix-Pack.

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Photo of jar2574
2.66/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Great pour. Full, tan head. Very dark brown-black beer. Yummy looking.

Chocolate and malts in smell and a touch of licorice as well.

Rich, thick, smokey, coffee-tasting beer. Bitter chocolate rather than milk chocolate flavor. But mostly this is just a smoky, acidic, coffee-like brew.

I want to be open to the style, but doubt that this is it's best representative. It doesn't taste good, and I don't need another.

Each pint is a meal, and coffee is the main ingredient. I'll pass.

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Photo of Gmann
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola like color with a decent tan head that dissipated into a nice cap. Left some nice lacing on the glass. The smell is lighter than expected. I pick up some brown bread, chocolate and light raisin aromas. The taste is of chocolate malt, light vanilla, a rusty metallic twang, and a light leafy hop presence. Not much in the way of spices. The brew is well bodied and has light to moderate carbonation; finishes pretty balanced tilting more on the bitter side. A good example of a porter with a good flavor profile. Not sure if I detect why this would be called a holiday porter except for the fact that it comes with the holiday brew pack.

2008 Edit
The brew had a noticable buttery taste, didn't really work well with the porter.

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Photo of Risser09
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter - 2007 winter offering

Appearance: A wicked hard pour yields a wicked huge head of 2 inches or better. The beer itself is jet black, no light escapes it. The head is being stubborn and isn't going anywhere. It is tan in nature, with various bubble sizes. It has nice moon craters as well. Laving is stubborn and clings to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Old leather, chocolate malt, toast, and baked oatmeal. The aromas are succinct and sweet.

Taste: The taste is fresh with roasted malts, burnt pancakes, wheatena, and caramel. Coffee and espresso make an appearance. Sugary and spicy. But not so spicy. Not spicy enough to be considered a holiday porter, imho. Good but not great.

Mouthfeel: Nice and smoothe. This porter bites back, not in the way that Troegs' does, but it has some bitterness to it. Sugar is the main component, but it does have other charm, like a nice alcohol warmth.

Drinkability: Very nice. This beer is tasty and smoothe. It goes down easy and doesn't ask for your number when you want to be left alone. Where are all the holiday spices? One can only imagine where they ran off to. Probably a better holiday porter at the North Pole. Drink this one.

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Photo of BiereBlanche
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz Bottle from a Sam Adams winter pack.

Appearance - Very dark ruby-ebony color. Thick, dark tan head settles a bit quickly leaving patches of foam.

Smell - Roasted malts for the most part. A buttery toffee smell adds support and hints of coffee and chocolate add robust complexity. Very nice Porter smell.

Taste - Dark and roasty taste lingers start to dry finish. Coffee seems to be the other main flavor and sticks in the mouth for the aftertaste, smooth and buttery aftertaste. A bit of alcohol warming, nice for a winter offeringI noticed a very pronounced, unfitting and unpleasant banana-esque flavor just after swallowing. It seems interesting, but the banana flavor is ruining it for me.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Dry finish. Smooth (like all SA)

Drinkability - Sam Adams Holiday Porter seems like it would be really interesting in flavor, the smell is pretty great. It's smooth, rich and full flavored. It's a shame, I have to admit the off flavor I keep picking up is ruining it for me and getting through a single bottle is a challenge...

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

The beer pours out a very dark brown that is clear when held up to the light. There is about 3/8 in. of light tan head that leaves lacing along the glass.

The aroma is roasted grains and a little dark chocolate. The taste is roasty coffee and some dark chocolate with an earthy hop bite in the finish, along with a little carbonation contribution to that bite.

The mouthfeel is medium with a high level of carbonation on the tounge. This is a very good example of a robust, English porter.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

So this is one of the first beers that I ever reviewed and I wanted to rereview this and see if my impression have changed.

A - Dark, coffee colored beer with a reddish tinge to it. With hints of amber to it as well; Had a small cream colored head to with a slight carbonation

S - smells of malt and chocolate with hints of figs and cherry wafting up; there is also a hint of honey coming forward

T - Taste at first is heavy malt with hints of orange peel on the end. There is a hint of spice that goes along with the yeasty maltness and there is a hint of roasted coffee that underlies the other flavors. Actually reminds me a bit of the young's winter warmer that I had before with the big malt body to it. Hints of Christmas pudding also underlie the flavor with hints of brown sugar underneath and hints of cherry

MF - The body is medium with a light carbonation that helps make the orange peel flavors pop out a bit stronger.

D - Overall a decent beer to have as part of the holiday sampler pack but I don't think i wold seek it out actively. Would go well with a holiday meal of ham and sweet potatoes. A decent offering from SA

 1,140 characters

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

Well, it's a porter for sure, but what makes it worthy to be called a Holiday porter? Find out now:

Appearance is dark as a porter should be, with shades of brown on the sides, crowned by a whitish-tan head. Smell is dominated by coffee beans, and a little espresso. The journey of this porter's flavor begins with a burnt touch on the palate. A roasted character is mild to heavy the time the beer is in your mouth. It has notes of banana and coffee flavors. Touch of charcoal and chocolate as well. There is a light hoppy flavor that gains definition as the beer gets sucked from the tongue to the throat.

This brew has some meat on its bones, making it a good choice in the cold winter months. Oh, now I see why it's called a Holiday porter. And yes, it's worthy of that moniker.

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

Had this at the Falcons football game. Poured into a plastic cup (only drawback). A very dark black with red highlights and a nice head that fell with little to no lace (I think it's the cup). Had a good roasted smell with coffee and chocolate. The taste is much the same with a nice thick mouthfeel and some decent carbonation. Overall drinkability is high for me because it was right in my wheelhouse as a porter and it offered a very traditional porter taste

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Photo of morimech
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, almost black, with some reddish highlights. A nice head forms but quickly disipates to just a ring. Not much lacing is left in its wake.

The dark malt is evident in the aroma but it lacks a depth found in other porters. It also has a slightly sweet smell.

The taste lacks the depth also. Not very complex or deep. Rather bland if you ask me. Just malt, the customary chocolate and coffee flavors are rather weak. It coats the mouth with a creamy feel and finishes dry. Maybe I have been spoiled by being exposed to some really good dark beers makes me not appreciate this one.

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Photo of animal69
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this was my third pick ; pours a deep burgandy-brown w/ a thin tan head which dissapates quickly, little lacing ; a caramel/toffee aroma w/ some citrusy hop notes, some faint estery yeast as well ; a rich, sweet, roasty caramel flavor, not as dry as most porters, has a nice malt profile, some spicy hop flavors as well ; a robust med. bodied brew, plenty of co2 to help keep the flavor around ; this is a very drinkable one, i like it better than their honey, in fact, this one of the best porters i've had, too bad it's seasonal...

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Photo of BDIMike
4.39/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark color with a very thin head.
Smells of a very rich chocolate malt. Has slight tones of caramel as well.
Has a great traditional porter taste. Very dark chocolate malt flavor. It has a bit of hoppiness at the end, but is definitely dominated by a chocolate malt taste.
The mouthfeel is a little thin.
Couldn't drink these all day, but porters aren't really meant to be.

Great hearty porter. The perfect beer for dessert or after dinner on a cold wintry night.

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

"For Brewery-Fresh Taste, Enjoy Before Month Notched: APR"
Part of an 07/08 SA Winter Classics 12-pack I picked up from the Columbia Schnuck's for $14.39.

a: Pours a very dark brown with hints of amber around the edges, light tan head sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing.

s: Typical porter mix of roasted malt, toffee, and dried dark fruits.

t: Chocolate, caramel, good charred/smoke notes with just a taste of hop bitterness towards the end.

m: Rich, creamy, smooth, the finish is a tad bitter.

d: Good balance to his one, might be my favorite from the SA Winter Classics 12-pack and when paired with a slice of pumpkin pie and MU Football, its sure making for a nice Saturday afternoon!

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Photo of weeare138
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque, near-black with some ruby highlights along the edges. The dark tan head slowly fades out, leaving chunky bits of sticky lacing around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, English toffee, cocoa, roasted nuts, hints of coffee, and caramel.
Taste is that of the mentioned aromas with obvious notes of buttery biscuit in a traditional English Porter holding true to notes of fruit and diacytel.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, semi sweet with nice balance of herbal hops and mild spice with charred sugars.

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Photo of scottyshades
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a gorgeous onyx color with red hues when held to light, monster sand colored 3 finger head which leaves a patchy lace on the of the best looking pours from a porter ive seen

S: Rich aroma consisting of roasted malts, caramel, toffee, coffee, and chocolate

T: Strong notes of smoked flavors, mainly of chocolate, caramel, malts, and finishes a little bitter and very dry

MF: Thick and creamy mouthfeel, medium in body, decent carbonation, goes down super smooth

D: Pretty drinkable, maybe a little too rich to be consumed in mass amounts, but definitely an excellent beer for a BBQ

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

This is one excellent porter. It poured a nice dark brown, almost black into the glass with a nice caramel colored head that was very thick and stuck to the sides of the glass. It smells of dark roasted malts and spices. The taste is really good with roasted malts dominating with some spices coming through in the aftertaste. Some nutty flavors come out in the aftertaste making it really nice for a holiday beer. It has a good sweet malty aftertaste and is overall an excellent beer. I wish they sold it outside of the holiday mix pack.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really a terrific porter, this is maybe the best reason to enjoy the return of Samuel Adams's Winter Classics 12-pack. This beer is full of flavor, creamy smooth, easy to enjoy, and usually leaves me wishing that Sam Adams distributed six-packs of this delicious beer.

The head is typically modest for Sam Adams products, but the beer leaves distinct foam lines around the glass to indicate its rich texture. The flavors are prominent but blend together very well. The roasted coffee, chocolate and caramel work nicely, and the creamy texture makes this a full-bodied yet easy-going porter to enjoy. Personally, among Sam Adams products, their porters I find to be exceptional, unfailingly excellent beverages, and Holiday Porter is no slouch. Porter fans will enjoy. This is a great beer to crack open after shoveling the driveway, or for resting with a book by the fire. First-rate.

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Photo of Brad007
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown color with a small brown head. Aroma is strong and malty with a coffee presence in the nose. Nice and roasty. Taste is nice and smooth, roasty with a lot of the alcohol showing through upfront. A second sip confirms a lot of the roastiness with a bit of a burnt coffee edge to it.

I would say that the alcohol showing through isn't quite what I desire in a porter. Even at 5.9%, there seems to be too much upfront that overshadows the roastiness.

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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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