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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,466 |  Reviews: 1,186
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice dark brown with a thick head.

S - Sweet, nutty and chocolatey.

T - Rich, sweet with a bitter finish, roasted coffee and chocolate flavors.

M - Medium body with a good carbonation.

D - Good beer to kick back and enjoy.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
3.51/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained this brew as part of the "Winter Classics" collection. Pours a deep brown color, with 1 1/2 finger thick tan head, that settles. Smell is slightly toasted malt, some very faint grape style sweetness. Very subdued aroma. Flavor has many woodsy notes, very faint coffee. Can also definetly taste the european hops used. Mouthfeel is very coating and smooth. some slight astringency, along with a slightly moist finish. Fairly solid beer. Im glad I have a few more of these.

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Photo of brdc
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small capped bottle pured into a pint, producing a very dark, almost impenetrable if not for a faint reddish highlights, and a nice creamy coffee and milk colored head that goes down but leaves a collar all the way down.
Aroma is quite pleasant, but not as powerful as I like, toffee and caramel, but none of the usual coffee. Interesting and pleasant, if not "strong".
It is medium on the palate, but the carbonation gives enough bite. Taste is quite peculiar for the style, it is buttery, somewhat sweet with a fruity bitterness that is very different than the usual roasted, bittersweet chocolate and/or coffee, of which there is very little here. Some diacetyl/buttery notes here feel a little off.
Different, interesting, but did not really go well for me.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.14/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dumps a dark coffee colored body with an almond head that retreats to a ring of foam. Good carbonation, however. The Holiday Porter gives off an intricate aroma, with almost too many notes to count: chocolate, cinnamon, plum, raisin, dark bread, caramel, molasses, and brown sugar.

Great taste on this porter: roasted & coffee malts, burnt chocolate, caramel, plum, fig, and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated with a lingering, bitter chocolate finish. Drinkability is good. While this isn't the best porter I've ever tasted, it's definately a complex and tasty one. I'll be having it again next year for sure.

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Photo of ccrida
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic from a 12 oz. bottle, the Holiday Porter is a very dark ruby with a large tan head, which quickly subsides to a thick skim, leaving heavy lace.

Smell is restrained, sweet malt, chocolate and caramel, and a bit of floral hops. Spot on porter.

Taste is not nearly as sweet, a bit of roastiness to it pushes it very close to stout territory, but with just enough caramel sweetness to keep it a porter. Nice touch of floral English hop flavor. Acrid, lingering finish on the drier side. I really like this style of porter, not a syrupy sugar bomb, but a little heft to it. Almost like a lower ABV export stout.

Mouthfeel has a slight slickness to it, well carbonated and medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good. Some porters are just too sweet to session, even if I really like the taste. This one is well balanced, and light enough I could probably really throw some of these back.

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

Appearance: Dark brown brew with a tan head.

Smell: Hearty malt, chocolate, coffee.

Taste: Good complex malt presence. Different malt flavors clash and intertwine throughout the taste process.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Dry finish.

Drinkability: Tasty porter. The malt flavors provide an interesting challenge to the drinker.

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

pours not quite black in color with a one inch tan head that fades to just cover the beer and a fair amount of lace. slightly burnt roasted malt, coffee, dark toffee in the nose. taste same as nose carrying from the beginning through to the finish with that slightly burnt taste. mouthfeel light, smooth, carbonation ok. drinkability is very good wish i had more.

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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 48º 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

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