Sam Adams Honey Porter

By on April 7, 2011 @ 6 PM (3 Comments)

The Sam Adams Honey Porter is a great example of the creativity of craft brewers. Take a regular English porter and add some Scottish heather honey to it and create a new porter experience. It pays homage to the traditional porter style, but Sam Adams makes it their own. That’s the mark of a good craft brewer – think of it as the same canvas, but a new paint combination.

Of course all Sam Adams beers come from the Boston Beer Company located in Los Angeles, CA. Kidding. Of course they’re in Boston. And in terms of the craft beer battle the Boston Beer Company is winning about as much as the Patriots (that’s a lot).

For our review of the Honey Porter we used a British pint glass and our 12 oz bottle yielded a 47.1 F starting temperature. The ABV has changed over time on this bad boy – for our review we were at 5.25% ABV, but on the Sam Adams web site it’s now officially listed at 5.5%. RateBeer and BeerAdvocate vary as well, coming in at 5.25% and 5.45%, respectively. Either way, it’s at the top end of a sessionable beer, but it still classifies as sessionable.

For our initial pour we got a large 2″ frothy light brown head that left a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated quickly. There’s a little bit of carbonation and the color comes in kind of a ruby brown that’s dark and translucent.

For our aromas we got a light chocolate, honey, roasted malts, alcohol, black licorice, light raisin and a light smokiness.

For our initial flavors we got a moderate sweet and a light bitter followed in the finish by a light sweet, light to moderate bitter and a light saltiness. For our tastes we got chocolate, honey, roasted malts, black licorice, soy sauce and a light smokiness. The smokey flavor rolls in at the end and adds just a little bit of that salty hint. Very nice.

The finish length is long, the mouthfeel is creamy, the tongue hit is front and middle. There’s not really any body lacing to note and on the malt to hop scale it comes in 1.5 clicks to the left of balanced on the malty side.

Bottom line notes shape up pretty well: yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and buy again. No to memorable and wow factor and a so-so to harmony. “So-so” is a highly quantitative scientific term so don’t bother looking that one up.

It’s very good as it warms, passing our 60 degree test with no issues. The finish is very interesting as well – there’s really two distinct finishes to it – an immediate finish that’s more sweet and less bitter, followed by a late finish where the sweetness wanes, the bitterness creeps up and the smokey notes roll in.

Overall, the Sam Adams Honey Porter is just a solid, nicely done beer. It would go great with BBQ – think more along the lines of brisket than pork though. It’s not a traditional porter by any means, as referenced in the beginning, but that’s what makes it unique. It’s actually quite understated as Sam Adams beers go, but it’s a treat nonetheless.

Sam Adams Honey Porter Rating: 6 out of 10 (?)

3 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Trent says:

    Nice review. I’ll add this to my “want” list.

  2. This was my first non-macro lager beer that I ever tried, probably back in the late 90’s. While I thought it was delicious, I didn’t seek it out again for many years, after which I don’t think it was in production. Glad to see its around again, although I haven’t spotted one here in Minnesota.

  3. Kaiserhog says:

    Really, the first craft beer I got into back in the late ’90’s. I loved it. It went down syrupy and cold, absolutely luscious. They quit brewing it, then revived it. I don’t this incarnation is quite the same of the original.

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