Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter
2,462 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,462 |  Reviews: 1,187
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.

 538 characters

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.

 886 characters

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.

 472 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.56/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, with a Dickensian man bringing a giant cask of Porter to an 1800's Christmas gathering, very inviting and appropriate,

A: Pours a dark brown, black from afar, with a thick, off-white, to light tan head, which has excellent retention, and forms a funnel type shape in my tulip as the beer is drunk. Heavy concentric rings of lace straddle the glass, making the beer's presence known. A beautiful beer to look at before it is drunk, and while one is drinking it.

S: Nice smell of roasted caramel malt, toast, bread, chocolate, and a bit of smoke and spice. Not the most robust smelling porter I've ever had, but the qualities of the smell make up for it nicely.

T: Very tasty. Bittersweet, 60-70% cocoa hits at the first sip, with some sweet caramel coming in second. Toasted bread and a bit of molasses add some complexity to the already beautiful, full malt flavour.

M: Smooth and creamy, full-bodied, almost like a liquid chocolate bar, very soothing and enjoyable.

D: I remember liking the Old Fezziwig the best last year, and it still is great, but this year, the Holiday Porter takes the cake. I have been thoroughly impressed by this beer, truly fantastic. The holiday mix pack from Sam Adams is worth it just for this beer, probably the best American Porter I have ever had.

 1,300 characters

Photo of schoolboy
4.7/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ooooo. I am so happy to get the Holiday Classics once again. The porter was first out of the box and just as I remembered it, how satisfying it is. It actually tastes a bit boozier than it is, and that's fine. Nothing hidden. Perhaps this was because my drink tonight was barely cool. And that's fine too.

The taste is very complex, yet not at all intimidating. I could drink these non-stop. If I was expecting a run of the mill heavy porter, this would be all wrong, but expecting a slightly "flavored" drink, I get what I want.

I'll have to go out and get me a few 12's of this just in case the price goes up ($11.99 this week) and availablility goes down. I am sure they will keep. In fact, I wonder if they might age well.

 728 characters

Photo of MisterDeeds
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A little early in the year, but when I see the Sam Winter Classics I am helpless to resist. So I bypass the famous Old Fezziwig, and put the Cranberry Lambics away for my sister-in-law, and I go straight for the Holiday Porter.

It pours dark and somewhat thick. Strangely, it seems to perform a quicker version of the Guinness cascade, leaving a thick head that dissipates slightly but hangs on throughout. The smell is somewhere is between dark roasted coffee and baking chocolate. Not a very appetizing combo, but it somehow works here.

Tastes just like it pours, dark and thick. Starts off with a little sweetness, and finishes with a slightly bitter coffee flavor.

Not sure why I always do this, but I like to suggest a good place to enjoy a beer, and this is definitely a fireplace beer. Even better would be outside on a cold night around a fire.

 856 characters

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

Poured a rich chocolate color with a nice 1 finger head that lingered for quite a while.
Medium lacing that clung to the sides and never disappeared top to bottom.
Very nice mouthfeel. Just the right amount of carbonation for this porter
Very strong tastes of caramel and chocolate but not too sweet at all.
Excellent beer overall and definately worth a try. I got mine in the SA Holiday Sampler

 395 characters

Photo of Rudgers73
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Sam Adams pint glass. There is a really decent head on this beer. About a 1/2 inch tall and retentive as well. I don't see many porters with rich heads. The beer is a couple shades darker than cola and there is mild carbonation. The nose is very much porter-like. Toasty, burnt, bitter hop aroma. The flavor profile is really nice. It's smooth and complex with good balance. It starts out rich and smooth with a touch of burnt grain, then the burnt flavor introduces the bitter hop taste. It finishes clean and doesn't leave you hanging. I enjoy the mouthfeel of this one. It is neither too thick nor too bold. It is very drinkable just for that reason: it's rich but not too rich, and it's strong but not unsessionably strong. 1 or 2 would be nice on a cold night.

 780 characters

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

12 oz bottle poured into a new Sam Adams glass. pours a dark chocolate color with garnet highlights and a solid tan head that is frothy.

smell is of black and chocolate malts, with a notable roasted character. a light hint of caramel is present as well. a base of bready yeast is also present, which offsets the sweet malts. good balance and concentration.

taste is sweet and malty up front, with a roasted character and notes of chocolate and caramel. finishes on a toasted note without much character in the aftertaste. overall a bit on the weak side when compared to what the aroma suggests.

mouthfeel is a bit thinner than would be expected. a medium to full body makes it a bit weak for a porter. a more bold mix of flavors and a heavier body would do this one well.

drinkability is good for a porter. the thinner body makes this one easier to finish. truth be told, this is a suprizing offer from Sam Adams. a little lacking on the body and boldness. nevertheless, this one is worth a try. cheers!

 1,008 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of light mocha colored head, settles quickly but leaves good lace. Black body with a hint of amber when held up to the light.

S - Caramel malt, subtle hops, almonds and perhaps a hint of indeterminate spice.

T - Big coffee flavor followed by hops and a creamy, dark caramel malt character. The finish is a long procession of dark malt: coffee, chocolate, and finally some sweet almonds.

M - Fairly light body, while it is sweet and creamy at first it quickly dries out and finishes roasty and dry without lingering on the palate. High carbonation.

D - Excellent drinkability. Full of flavor, but light in body and easy to drink. This captures the season better than most of the other Sam Adams winter beers, too bad the holiday sampler only comes with two.

 775 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.11/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My second favorite in the holiday pack, 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 digestif. Very much worth a try!

 442 characters

Photo of bigdeuce
3.67/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour on this one, with a terrific head and great lacing. Little smokey on the nose, but smell is a little lacking, which is not common for a Samuel Adam's brew. Dark chocolately, roasted malts with a nutty flavor as well. Some coffee also, maybe? Medium bodied with a little twingy hop flavor at the end. An overall nice offering by the Boston Beer Company.

 367 characters

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

I love it when the holiday brews come out! This is part of the SA Holday 12 pack.

A robust crimson hued brownish color, deep and vibrant displaying a thick, clumpy and very sticky head that has very slow retention and a nice 1/8" cover remain until the end.

The nose has a robust, zesty chocolate malt, later caramel brown sugar sweetness and a peppery, barbaque-zesty hop underneath it all.

The flavor brings forth a bold smoked-oats and chocolate flavored malt, with currents of vanilla cookies and finishing hop-zesty and a slightly bitter peanutbutter aftertaste. The big malt boldness is also very smooth and hefty, just like it should be, with a slick, creamy feeling.

This is pretty rad winter brew.

 717 characters

Photo of Chuggnutt
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Chocolate tan head. Dark brown, like coffee, opaque-ish with red highlights.

Smell: Coffee, roasted grain, bitter (black) malt, slightly smoky.

Taste: Nice—roasted, dark, rich. Slightly astringent (dry). Burnt coffee.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, with a slight puckering astringency. Lighter than expected.

Overall: Despite the brevity of my notes, I enjoyed it. It's a well-crafted example of the style; I wouldn't mind seeing it year-round, actually.

 476 characters

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

Brown head that doesnt last. Nice lacing around glass. Attractive dark color and nice aroma. Thinner than a lot of porters, but still very tasty. Though I appreciate the effort, Samuel Adams makes a lot of stuff that really isnt my style (Winter Lager, Cranberry Lambic, Cherry Wheat, etc.), but they really know how to craft dark beers. Besides this, Cream Stout, Black Lager, and Honey Porter are excellent beers

 414 characters

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

Pulled out of the back of my closet from a holiday pack purchased almost 6 months ago. The beer pours an almost opaque black with a thin head that slowly diminishes. The aroma is of chocolate and black malts. The taste is dominated by black malts and subtle hops with some dark chocolate and molasses present as well. The beer is somewhat carbonated and medium bodied. I will have to give it another try in the winter and see if I enjoy it more.

 445 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.89/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle consumed 12/06 - review from memory

A - almost clear brown beer, tan head, ok lacing.

S - sweet roasted malty aroma, pretty nice.

T - sweet roasted coffee/chocolate taste, bittersweet chocolate aftertaste.

M - a little thin bodied, close to being overly carbonated.

D - overall, the taste wins out and makes for a good drinkable brew.

 362 characters

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

Pours a dark brown with some light brown highlights. Creamy brown head the dissipated rather quickly.

Aroma of dark chocolate, molasses and malts.

Taste is of dark chocolate and sweet malts. Reminded me of a chocolate shake. Quite bitter [for the style] at the end.

Mouthfeel is quite spritzy, cleansing and dry. Seemed a little to carbonated for the style.

Overall, this is a good session beer. I enjoyed it.

 422 characters

Photo of shadow1961
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've got a bottle of Sam Adams Holiday Porter and it (was) thursday. That's
enough reason to celebrate. A careful pour gets me a nice stiff tan head
over an opaque black brew. The nose is caramel malt, and carbonation
is hard to guage, but enough to leave a nice skin of foam to contrast with
the brew. The flavor is caramel and bitter chocolate up front with a sharp
hop finish. The mouthfeel is crisp, and there is nice lacing in the glass as
the brew goes down. A nice porter for somebody who likes a bit of hop bite
with that sweetness.

 548 characters

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

Pours a dark chocolate brown with a light brown healthy creamy head that sticks around. Smell of dark chocolate and caramel malts with dried fruits. Taste is more the same with smell with added coffee. A medium mouthfeel that has good body, but a bit on the hoppy side for me in a porter. None the less one the better ones from Sam Adams that I've had.

 352 characters

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

Pours a super dark reddish brown, Half inch tan head of dense bubbles that didn't stick around, but did cling nicely to the sides of my pint glass.

The smell was of roasted malt and baking cocoa. Burnt sugar/molasses and honey.

A lot of burnt malt and burnt sugar/molasses right up front. Very smokey character. Dark cocoa powder, with honey flavors and a hint of toffee. Finishes with a bitter dose of fuggle and kent golding hops as well as dry graininess.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with just enough carbonation to leave a little bite.

Very drinkable, I could see drinking this as a session beer during the cold months of winter. A very solid offering.

 674 characters

Photo of EPICAC
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is another beer that I snagged from beer hour at work. I let this warm a bit and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark, ruby brown with a thick, sudsy, brown head that fades slowly leaving thick lace and persisting as a substantial film.

Smell: Roasty aromas are dominant, there are some nice coffee and chocolate notes. There are also some nice caramel and dark fruit malty notes as well.

Taste: A nicely balanced porter. Upfront there's sweet malts: bitter chocolate and dark fruit. These move into a roasted bitterness with nice coffee and chocolate notes. There are also some nice hop flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, high carbonation, but smooth.

Drinkability: Very nicely balanced. Neither the sweetness or the bitterness ever dominates.

 807 characters

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

Pours a dark brown color with a brown head and some nice lace. Toasty aroma, hints ofchocolate, hops, nuts, and toffee. I enojoy this beer ever winter it comes out. Available in Winter Pack. Might be able to find this on sale somewhere for a low price, or clear out.

 266 characters

Photo of Wasatch
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/black, nice carbonation, nice little head, leaves quickly, nice islands and some sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, and caramel The taste is slightlysweet, malty, nice touch of chocolate/toffee, slight bitter finish. Medium body. Drinkable, nice little porter at that.

 333 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A warm Charles Dickens-esque scene graces the lable, and a thick three finger tan head rises from a cascade effect over a pitch black brew with brown edges. Tons of sticky lace creates spiderwebs down the glass.

S - Chocolate and marshmallow over dark roast coffee. Chocolate s'mores and Count Chocula cereal. Sugary YooHoo chocolate milk.

T - Black coffee and hints of chocolate. Much more roasty and espresso-like than the sweetish aroma. Nowhere near as complex either. The roasty qualities are replaced by a hoppy bite towards the end.

M - Medium bodied, creamy, and lightly carbonated. Neutral finish with a slightly bitter dark-chocolate aftertaste. Nice.

D - Drinkability is where this one shines. This is just about the most drinkable porter that I've tried...it's a shame that you can only get two in a holiday 12-pack mixer. I would buy sixers of this for the holiday season for sure. Come on SA! Give us the good stuff!

 947 characters

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 2,462 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.